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Monday, March 26, 2007

Further to the fourth anniversary of the invasion into Iraq this from an Iraqi is quite good:

The war launched four year ago gave me my country back, and armed me with hope. Maybe my hopes have been scaled back slightly and recalibrated, but they were never repudiated nor will they be. On this anniversary, I choose to remind myself that flawed freedom is far better than slavery in whatever form, and that it is absolutely worth it.

The whole post is in fact worth reading.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Title inspired by the ASI Team, but I just wanted to show that health and safety mandating has a long, even ancient pedigree. Here’s the Good Book:

When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if any one fall from it. (Deut. 22.8)

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

On youtube: A reader of mine has emailed me the link to this BNP video. He posted a critical message which vanished within hours. Taking it for a technical glitch he tried reposting it, only for it to be gone within minutes. Seems they weren’t too happy about some real criticism. Anyway I’ve tried it too and mine isn’t showing up anymore. If you have a YouTube account why not give it a shot. This is the text we tried, but obviously feel free to do your own:

Rubbish. Also, it's not particularly clever of him to allude to Bodicea, given that she lost. So, what's he saying: "Join us losers!" How apt.


Friday, March 23, 2007

The BBC report about Iran seizing 15 of our sailors is not too specific about the background, but I wouldn’t be suprised if this was a reprise of Iran’s previous kidnap of British servicemen. They got away with it last time so I guess they thought they could get away with it again. After British personnel are now officially accepting that Iranian undercover forces are active in southern Iraq, the Iranian government probably thought it would be a good idea to have another little show-down. Back in 2004 British commanders refused US orders to launch cross-border strikes in retaliation, so I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes now. Either way, it’s time we started reciprocating in some way. Earlier this year US forces were authorised to open lethal fire on Iranian agents, and this might be a good idea for us to do likewise. Or perhaps we should threaten such measures if the sailors aren’t released? Either way I think the UK has often been a little too soft towards the Iranian regime. Certainly, if our forces know who and where these Iranian agents are in southern Iraq, I’d suggest some serious raids are in order.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Don’t want to write much about Iraq at the moment. Here’s a good piece by Christopher Hitchens. Somtime I’ll have a bit of a review of what I got wrong on Iraq. I wasn’t publishing back in March 2003, but you can have a look at my March 2004 review and consider it in the light of the following three years.


More squirrel action.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Seems the Mail's not paying well enough, our Mel has got herself some supplementary income.

Friday, March 16, 2007

ConHom has a story about another Eurosceptic pressure group, this one to be called Global Vision (yawn). Plenty of criticism has been made in that posting, asking whether we don’t already have enough such outfits, which we certainly do a plenty. Problem is they keep missing the bigger picture, namely what our EU membership is really about.
Why are we in the EU? It’s not to stabilise our democracy, it’s not to improve our governance, it’s not for economic gain. Essentially it’s the same reason we have the special relationship to the US for. Our establishment sees itself as world power leader. After 1945 it was apparent that we didn’t have the strength and money to do this entirely on our own feet, hence the special relationship which could lower military technology costs and give us extra diplomatic clout by having a privileged access to the White House. Suez proved though that we couldn’t rely on the US enough. Hence the drive to get into European integration. And that’s really what it’s about, our place in the world.
So what we really need is a serious think-tank that can push debate and advocacy on this point. I pointed out in the past that the Conservatives desperately need this to be more effective as a party too. But above all it matters greatly to the future of our nation. Saying the EU is often inefficient et al is all nice and well, but that simply doesn’t cut it. Perhaps those inefficiencies are a price worth paying for the global position that EU-membership gives us. Perhaps it isn’t. Either way, any alternative strategies need to be embedded in an all-round foreign policy agenda which the right simply doesn’t have. There was an attempt some time ago that failed, the New Frontiers Foundation. That it failed tells us sadly how disoriented the British right is on these matters. Only when we can seriously match liberalish outfits like the Foreign Policy Centre or the Centre for European Reform do we stand a chance of intellectual and electoral renewal.
We owe that to our country and its future.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Some think the Tories are only doing all this green stuff to get good pr, others fear they're serious. Well, the truth is sort of both. As Conservatives put it privately the just-announced air travel taxes are politics, not policy, and aim at marking their opposition against the government, and with the hope it will increase tension between Brown and Milliband.
But it goes further than that. Whilst there is strong scepticism on the science of global warming, the view appears to be that the public has decided that the debate has been concluded decisively. So, the public wants action. So the politicians should act, despite their own scepticism and possibly better judgement.
Is this spineless? I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand politicians should do what voters want them to do. On the other hand I believe that politicians can and sometimes should provide leadership on important issues. This is one of the things that's been going wrong with the Consevatives under DC I think. On many other issues, Iraq and defence generally, on relations with the US, on public spending and many other issues we are just pandering to received wisdom, and abandoning the positions that are in fact right. If we don't stand for the right policies consistently, won't this make actually governing tremendously difficult as we face an uphill battle with public opinion instead of having built up public support consistently?
I for one, am at least quite doubtful.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

From today NATO’s big spring offensive against the Taliban is under way. Let’s hope it’ll be successful. Well, with a commander like this, should our hopes be up or down?

Maj. Gen. Ton van Loon, commander of NATO forces in regional command south,
announces that British forces, supported by Canadian and coalition troops, have
launched an offensive to drive the Taliban out of northern Helmand province.

And who knows, maybe this blog will become a little more serious again some time.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

If you want a few smiles today why not drop by the Spine. I particularly liked these entries on the only useful diplomat ever to have served at the UN and this apt comment on the last year’s Toynbee-Churchill debate in the Tory party, and as for this I wonder how long that’ll remain satire?
Another fun site has been this. There’s a Biblical abuse generator and I thought this on the faking of the moonlandings was quite good; and here are those reinforcements for Bush’s Iraq surge, and I guess there’s plenty more where they came from. Coming to think of it, if the fitness requirements are dropped I might volunteer myself . . .
On a slightly critical note, this is very funny, but ask yourself if Michael Moore had made this?


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